Monday, April 30, 2012

Discussion: Why Dystopian Should Not Always Be Standalones

Like my post before about standalones, I stated that I missed them but I also stated that most dystopians, in my opinion, should not be a standalone (unless it’s The Giver, which totally rocked as a standalone dystopian.)

Why?

The big answer? World building.

Its so important in really any book but with Dystopians its so much more. And now that I think about it, I think it’s important for urban fantasies and paranormals. I’m going to make it easier to understand by using an example.
Divergent by Veronica Roth:

In Divergent, we are introduced to the factions and we briefly learn what they are and what they stand for in the beginning. As we read on, we learn more about the Daungtless and some of the other factions. As the book continues, we learn more and more about that faction but not a whole lot. Veronica Roth has to incorporate character development and conflict and she has to put in other characters’ stories as well. When you think about it, you don’t actually know as much about this world that Veronica Roth has created as you thought you did.

I need to know a whole lot about the world (and the characters and all). I don’t want the author to introduce the world: Factions in Chicago and then tell one small aspect of it: Daughtless are the Brave and tell me no more.

I like to say that I got an introduction to the world in which Divergent takes place. I want to read Insurgent not only to see what happens next with the characters but to also to learn more about the world. I want to know more about the other factions because like Divergent showed us, not everything is as it seems.

Take The Hunger Games for instance. How would you have liked it if Suzanne Collins had only published The Hunger Games and not continued on? I personally would not have liked it very much. I loved Catching Fire (maybe even more the THG) and Mockingjay and I felt that I needed all three of those books for my need of that world. I wanted to know more and more about the government and its people but I also wanted to know what was going to happen to Peeta and Katnis and Gale. So, while some dystopians have proven that they can be standalones (have I mentioned The Giver?), many of them need to be more than one book. I’m not saying that you should just stretch one plot on but rather, introduce more plot arcs and people as the wolrd building and conflict begin to reach their climax. I’m glad Suzanne Collins didn’t write another book after Mockingjay in the world of the Games because I felt that the trilogy ended in a great place.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Title: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
Author: Meredith Zeitlin
Release Date: March 1, 2012
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
Source: Publisher 
Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.

Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.

Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…
Review: 
Two years ago, I was somewhat in Kelsey's shoes. I didn't have a plan for freshman year but I did have that feeling: high school is a whole NEW ball game, different from anything else. It's a great time to become who you want to be or change yourself completely. It's also the year that you feel a little lost and confused...and yes, scared.  Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters is a very funny, light, and very cute book about a girl who's just trying to survive the battle that is called high school and trying to figure out who she is. Meredith Zeitlin delivers a story full of laughs and lessons to be learned about a very charismatic young girl! 

I can't even being to tell you how I feel about this book. I read it in ONE DAY. Literally, one day and the entire time I was reading it, I laughed out loud, shook my head, said "awww" out loud a few times, and genuinely enjoyed reading this book. Kelsey is funny guys! She's witty and snarky but she's not annoying. She feels the angst of being a 14-year-old, an older child, entering high school and while this may sound disastrous, Kelsey is real. I could connect to her and *most* of the situations she got herself in. Sure some of it seemed far fetched (and maybe I was jealous my freshman year self didn't get asked to junior prom!) but they were nice to read about.

I love the way Meredith Zeitlin writes. Not only when it came to Kelsey's dialogue and her thoughts, but the interactions she has with the other people around her, even her best friends. Some people might read this book and say some of these things aren't possible or cliched (such as best friends not talking over a guy) but let me tell you, the majority of these events in this book are ones I've seen happen or have happened to me. Meredith Zeitlin just had a way of making Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters into such a great read that did have meaning behind it.  

Overall, I loved this book. It was HILARIOUS and cute and so many other words. I really loved Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters and  I think you should give it a try. You'll be surprised at how fast you zip through this novel and then want more and more about the characters. Meredith Zeitlin delivered with her debut!  
Rating:
4/5
Cover Comments: 
It's simple and cute and adorable and fits the book well!
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Can't We All Just GET ALONG?

Top Ten Tuesday {29}

 is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters In Books:
1) Rose from Vampire Academy: Can I just say she's like the most kick ass character I know? She's totally fierce and loyal and snarky and I just love reading the books from her point of view. She is vulnerable at times which only makes her more real.

2) Hermione Granger from Harry Potter Series: She's so awesome! She's smart and she's proud of it, not scared to let anyone know of her brains. She's a loyal friend and is always there for Ron and Harry. I used to get made fun of for being smart and I used to hate it...but then Hermione came along and showed me that being SMART=COOL! 


3) Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice: WHO IN THE WORLD DOESN'T WANT A MR. DARCY with all his smoldering looks and smiles? And Lizzie was WAY ahead of her time and she was independent, and spunky, and so freaking loyal to her friends and family!   


4) Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter Series: When you really need to laugh in-between all that is going on in the books, these guys are the ones you turn to. Besides being plain awesome, they TORTURE Umbridge (whom I LOATHE) which gets them brownie points! And plus, THEY'RE AWESOME. 

5) Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games: She loves her family so much and is willing to do anything for them and her relationship with Prim is just...Not to mention her boldness to not confide to what her society deems to be acceptable. I love badass females leads and she's just AWESOME.

6) Sirius Black from Harry Potter Series: First of all, Gary Oldman is awesome and then there's Sirius Black. Y'all he's awesome...just...awesome. He's brave and loyal and funny and fiercely protective and loving and I just cried my eyes out when he died.

7) Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore: She's badass and funny but vulnerable too. She's like a real person...who can fight like a ninja.

8) Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter Series: SHE'S SO REAL in such a weird and quirky way which makes her HER. She's a gifted witch and she's smart and she won't let anyone tell her to change. Throughout this ENTIRE series that she was in for, she's remained HERSELF. And honestly, what could be better?

9) Cinna from The Hunger Games: While I didn't care for him much in the movie, he's so awesome in the books. He came up with the freakin' awesome costumes but he's a nice and caring guy. He looks out for Katniss and is there when she needs him. Plus, he confide with society (Snow) either!

10) Harry Potter from the Harry Potter Series: He's Harry effing Potter. Sure he's a little arrogant but y'all, DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IS HANGING ON HIS SHOULDERS? Like, the fate of the ENTIRE world was on his shoulders. Mind you, that's A LOT to handle and I personally think he handled it amiably.

A SPECIAL ADDITION TO THE LIST: Ron Weasley.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Title: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict 
Series: Jane Austen Addict #1
Author: Laurie Viera Rogers 
Release Date: August 7, 2007 
Publisher: Dutton Adult 
Source: Library
In this Jane Austen inspired comedy, love story, and exploration of identity and destiny, a modern LA girl wakes up as an Englishwoman in Austen's time.

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman's life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her love of Jane Austen has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condomless seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who fills Courtney's borrowed brain with confusing memories that are clearly not her own.

Try as she might to control her mind and find a way home, Courtney cannot deny that she is becoming this other woman and being this other woman is not without its advantages: Especially in a looking-glass Austen world. Especially with a suitor who may not turn out to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.
Review: 
I love all things Jane Austen so I was excited to read this book. I'm sure after Pride & Prejudice, a lot of readers would have loved to live in the world of Lizzie and Darcy (I would LOVE to meet Darcy...only if he looks like Matthew MacFarryden though) and I've always been intrigued by that time period. This was somewhat of a P&P re-telling...during the time period of P&P, so it was kind of a time traveling story as well.

There were similarities to P&P, our protagonist Courtney's favorite Austen novel and mine as well. And guys, the mother is just as annoying and infuriating as in P&P; she made me want to come into the novel and slap her hard across the face. As for Courtney aka Jane, I liked her but she did get annoying at times but I guess it came with the shock of time traveling to such a different place. Plus, she didn't know if she would get back to her time AND there was a hot guy in her new life who was totally in love with her...how can a girl pass that up?

Gah, the reality of the world of 1815 England was GROSS, like *shuddering* GROSS. I think this is a to time to mention that I'm squeamish person at first and it takes a while for me to get over it. That said, Courtney got the reality of medicine and hygiene during that time which wasn't very advanced. For instance, there was such a thing as public baths (with clothes on!) where all sorts of people got in, even if they've got a cold or infection or a seriously hurt leg. Yeah, GROSS.

Overall, it was a nice read. Nothing really overly exceptional but there haven't been a lot of time traveling with an Austen book involved so that was a nice twist. There is another book, this one on Jane's life in the 21st Century, and I hope to read that one too!
Rating:
3/5
Cover Comments: 
It's nice. Pure and simple, the lady on the cover fits a lady from that century!
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New RSS Feed

So my old e-mail address was being stupid so I decided to create a new email that I now use for this blog. Since I changed the blog email, I changed the RSS e-mail too! SO, I think all of your feeds for my blog might *shudders* not work and you might have to subscribe again.....

Again, this was unintentional and the e-mail was just not worth keeping up with. This one is much nicer and deals with all things for my blog!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Discussion: I Miss Standalones Part 2

The plague of the cliffhangers

I think everyone knows what I’m talking about. After book 1, there is an Epic Cliffhanger of Epicness of Total Proportions That Leaves You Dying For Book 2. I’ve noticed a few things from before I began book blogging to after: for one, I don’t like all the books I usually would. I’ve read and reviewed enough books to know what kind of books I would and wouldn’t like.

Some of the books that receive a whole bunch of hype are books that I didn’t enjoy or books that I didn’t even finish. And guess what these books had? An Epic Cliffhanger.

I like a good cliffhanger. Sometimes, I LOVE a good cliffhanger. I think Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy had cliffhangers that were super awesome and well done. The big difference was that Richelle Mead built up to the cliffhanger and put some meat into the book. I’ve noticed that some books go through the story and I don’t feel like there is going to be a cliffhanger…and then there is one. It’s like it came out of absolute anywhere and that is not a good cliffhanger. That’s a cliffhanger that I’m bound to forget about.

Why not have a book that has a good ending but with maybe some loose ends. Not a cliffhanger?

I think cliffhangers are put into books just to guarantee that people will read the next book which I think is super sad. At times, cliffhangers are necessary, but NOT ALL THE TIME. I think authors should write books that can get people to read the next book WITHOUT the use of a cliffhanger. Make your character so good that I can’t stop thinking about them. That’ll make me want to read the next book. Make your world so realistic and unique that I want to read more and more about it.

In a sentence: Don’t rely on cliffhangers for everything.

Established trilogies, series, etc. and why I love them

Richelle Mead and J.K. Rowling come to mind when I think of this. From the beginning of each of these series (Vampire Academy…and Harry Potter), both authors established that they were going to have a set number of books in the series. Both authors followed suite and I was very happy about it.

Richelle Mead wrote a spin off! You say. Yes, she did write a SPIN OFF. It’s the continuous of the story with a different main character. As much as I hate to admit it, Rose’s story ended (like Richelle said she wanted to) with Last Sacrifice. Now with Bloodlines, it’s Sydney’s turn to tell her story. Yes, Rose does (doesn’t she?) make an appearance in Bloodlines but we don’t read the story from her point of view.

For instance, Eragon was supposed to be the first book in the Inheritance trilogy but with Inheritance, it became part of the Inheritance Cycle. I like this series yes, but I would have been happy with a trilogy. I get that he didn’t think he could sum up the story in three books, why is that the case with all the authors?

Another example is the Mortal Instruments Trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I loved the first three books and I was super excited for the next three books to come out. I did not finish City of Fallen Angels and I realized that I liked the ending of the third book in the TRILOGY…that is no long a trilogy. *Sigh*

SO, for those of you still with me, do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said?

Part 1

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Discussion: I Miss Standalones Part 1

**This was actually going to be a VERY long post but I decided to break it down into a few different posts!**

I recently read a middle grade book that I enjoyed a lot and I wrote up the review for it. I have a template I use for all of my review so when I went to Goodreads to get the summary of the novel, I was honestly shocked to see that it was part of a series. When I finished that said book, I was happy at the ending. It was a good ending that tied up the loose ends and I couldn’t wait to read more from the AUTHOR. Which then got me to thinking about how pretty much every single book we’ve got these days are part of a series or trilogy or something.
I miss standalones.

Why can’t a fantasy book, like Brightly Woven, just be a book onto itself. Another, The False Princess by Elis O’Neal was another great fantasy read and I loved the ending for that one too. Why aren’t there many paranormal or urban fantasies that are standalones? I get that there is a lot of world building needing in those books but still.

I’ve actually broken this down into much simpler terms:

Companions
I don’t really have a problem with companions. Like The Giver, one of my favorite books ever, I was super happy with it’s ending and when I heard that I had two companion novels, I wasn’t sure what to think. After reading them, I realized that they were not a continuous of The Giver but rather a continuous of the world, which I loved.

Like Anna and the French Kiss, it was a great standalone. Lola and the Boy Next Door was another great
 companion that just had the cameo of two characters from ANNA. I didn’t have a problem of that either.

Companions good but I think people should know what a companion is. It can be in the same world and have the same government or something but the main character might be different. I don’t want a companion to be told from the same character as the first book because in my book, it makes it a sequel, not a companion.

Books that were good as standalones that were extended

**Many dystopians in my opinion are exceptions and I’ll explain why in another post**

I’ve read plenty of books, like the MG fantasy book from above, that I thought were great as a standalone and I honestly don’t know why the author wants to continue this story.

There is just something about a good ending that feels right that makes me happy. There are some books that have a good ending but are also loose ended, letting the reader think what they want with that book and characters. I personally love that! I love having a good ending but being able to imagine what might happen to the characters next.

Now many books that were like that have become part of a trilogy or a series. And a lot of the time from what I’ve noticed, book 2 isn’t as good as book 1 and occasionally, book 2 was just bad.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday {28}

 is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Tips For New Book Bloggers:
1) Don't try to copy someone else's writing style. Find your own voice because that's what is going to set you apart from the other bloggers.

2) Join social media! Twitter and Goodreads and Facebook will be your best friends but be careful of online drama.

3)  Since you're trying to market yourself and your blog, have the same images on your social media and website.

4) Don't get caught up in the number game! This means Google Friend Connect and followers. It's not as important as building up your blog with YOUR fresh voice and GOOD content.

5) Review archives are AMAZING. MAKE ONE NOW! It's so much easier to link all reviews on a single page and when people visit your blog, they can see all the reviews you've posted!

6) Review policies are important since it makes it easier for publishers/ authors to see what kind of books you review. I have a detailed policy including format for books I review as well as what genres I review. I've also included which types of books I don't review.

7) Content of posts over number of posts! You don't have to post EVERY SINGLE DAY. Post 3 to 4 times a week with GOOD CONTENT POSTS.

8) Don't get bogged down with memes. Try and review books and have discussions posts and maybe participate in a few memes regularly. No one wants to read a blog full of just memes, ya know?

9) ARCs are a plus in being a book blogger but don't think that you're going to get every ARC out there. Wait some time before you request an ARC too! Focus on building up with blog and credibility.

10) HAVE FUN with blogging. Sometimes it kinda feels like a job which sucks but try to have fun and enjoy blogging. Blogging isn't a job so don't make it one!

Movie Review: Hugo

Directer: Martin Scorsese
Written by: John Logan
Cast:
Asa Butterfield as Hugo Cabret
Ben Kingsley as Georges Méliès, the toy shop owner and former filmmaker
Chloë Grace Moretz as Isabelle, Georges' goddaughter
Sacha Baron Cohen as Inspector Gustave

I have been waiting forever to see this movie! I wasn't able to catch it in theaters but when I got the DVD for it, I was super excited to finally see the movie! While I have not read the book itself, I was familiar with what the book was about but I loved the plot. It was one of those movies where people a connected through various items or events that bring them together. It was executed flawlessly and I loved every bit of it!

The sets, the costumes, and the Cinematography were absolute perfection. The colors were so lush and the entire movie had such a nice feel to it, I really could not stop watching! Hands down, Martin S. is an amazing director and he proved it with this movie! Though there is a lot going on, everything is explained in its own time, in its oen way. The inclusion of Georges M. Was a surprising twist and I really loved Isabelle and all of her literary character mentions!

The acting fit the plot too and it was awesome. All the characters fit their roles and it really looked like they knew what they were doing. LIST IF SOME CAST AND HOW THEY DID.

Overall, I think everyone should watch this movie. It's funny, sad, a little weird, a whole bunch of magical and so much fun! You'll feel like you were part of the Paris landscape, living the movie through the characters eyes!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter

Title: Goddess Interrupted 
Series: Goddess Test #2 
Author: Aimee Carter 
Release Date: March 27, 2012  
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: NetGalley via Publisher 

Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it.Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person whom she would really rather not meet. Henry's first wife, Persephone. 
Review: 
I loved The Goddess Test, the first book in this series and Aimee Carter’s debut novel. I love all things mythology and I wanted to get to see how the author would takle one of the most frequent re-told myth out there. I was happy with The Goddess Test and super excited for Goddess Interrupted. While I did enjoy this book, I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped to love it. It was a quick read that had a lot going on and the plot got better than in The Goddess Test.

One of my problems with this book was Kate. Kate was much stronger in the first installment than she was in this one; she was incredibly whiney and got really jealous at times, even when she didn't have any reason to be in this book. I get that she has some angst going on, but she should have acted her age! In a moment where she should have been strong and defiant, she wasn’t and that took away from the strong girl I remember in The Goddess Test. This also proved be a lack point in her development as a character, which if you know me, doesn’t go well with me.

The plot was awesome and there were surprises and intriguing and introduced new characters (Persephone!) and I liked that at least that bit was changed and developed. Aimee Carter could have simply gone with the same plot line for Goddess Interrupted but thank goodness she changed it!

Overall, I didn’t enjoy Goddess Interrupted as I did The Goddess Test. While the plot proceeded, character development wasn’t very present and that took away a lot of the enjoyment. Aimee Carter’s writing is great, though, and it really brings out the world that she has created in these books. I think everyone should read these books, at least giving them a try!
Rating:
3/5
Cover Comments: 
I actually like this one a lot! I wish it did go more with the book but the model reminds me of Kate and I love what she's wearing. Plus, it's consistent!
My Previous Reviews: 
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: The Traitor In The Tunnel (The Agency #3) by Y.S. Lee

Title: The Traitor in the Tunnel 
Series: The Agency #3
Author: Y.S. Lee 
Release Date: February 28, 2012 
Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Source: NetGalley via Publisher 
Get steeped in suspense, romance, and high Victorian intrigue as Mary goes undercover at Buckingham Palace - and learns a startling secret at the Tower of London.

Queen Victoria has a little problem: there's a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quickwitted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary's onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family? Hoist on your waders for Mary's most personal case yet, where the stakes couldn't be higher - and she has everything to lose.
Review: 
I absolutely love historical fiction. I'm a huge fan of all things Victorian, Elizabethan, Regency etc. England. After reading the first book in this series, I fell in love. Not only with that fact that it was a mystery but the fact that it's set in 1850s England and features a strong, independent, woman, which wasn't common during that time. While The Traitor in the Tunnel was a great book, it wasn't my favorite out of the series so far.

The plot itself was relatively good but I did have issues with it. There was a lot going on all at the same time and that really took away from me enjoying the book as much as I could have. I think what got me was that because there was so much going on, we weren't able to get a lot of information and background. Sure you can't really do that anyways but you want to have at least a good grasp of the issue; I just wanted more, ya know? The London setting and the important historical figures were well done and I loved seeing London through Mary's eyes.

I was more than happy of course, to see James again but he seemed a little off in this book. I'm not sure what it was but it seemed much more spontaneous and his actions didn't really match the James from the earlier books. While he and Mary were as cute as ever, their relationship didn’t seem to go anywhere, sadly.

Y.S. Lee’s research shined through this novel once again and I was so happy to be back in Victorian Era England. Her writing was wonderful and was able to carry this book, without many issues. While I did feel that so things weren’t as great as they could have been (see above paragraphs), The Traitor in the Tunnel was a good addition to The Agency series though not my favorite.
Rating:
3.5/5
Cover Comments: 
Love it! The model and the theme has stayed true to all of these books and I couldn't be more happier

My Previous Reviews: 
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

WIHTSA: North and South

WIHTSA: What I Have To Say About posts are random posts I have about random things, raining from cover comments to book releases to movies!
I have a some-what confession: I love Pride and Prejudice. I love Darcy. I also love Jane Eyre and Rochester. I didn't think that there was anything better than those two in English literature but then one day, I cam across this post at Melanie's Musing by Nicole of WORD for Teens and from there I went to Sandy of Pirate Penguin's Reads post and I was very much intrigued. A guy (John Thornton) hotter than both Darcy and Rochester? I didn't initially check out this new book (and movie) that these ladies loved but then I saw Angie's post about it and I had to check it out.

That night, I ended up watching the entire movie through and through and I AM IN LOVE. First of all, it's a BBC adaption and they hardly ever go wrong. Seriously, I have recommended this movie to everyone and anyone. I have tried to read the book but the writing is hard for me to understand, even though I'm usually really good at reading periodical novels (which is my term for novel set in the Victorian, Elizabethan, etc, eras) so that'll have to wait for later.

Why do I love this movie is much? Part of it does have to do with this man:
He's usually extremely broody and grim and rarely smiles, but when he does, he's super sexy. He's like a mix of Rochester from Jane Eyre and Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (as Angie so eloquently said in her post.) By the way, "look back, look back at me" kills me every time, it's just so darn perfect and his face is so hurt. There is a lot of agony and jealousy going on and it makes you smile.

Margaret Hale, our protagonist, is an independent woman who is new to the North and when she and Thornton meet for the first time, they clash over their differences. The one aspect that puts this book and adaption apart from other works during this time period is that it's not all focused on the love story. There is a lot of talk about the interaction between the classes and the genders and we can even see how the lower classes vs. the upper classes live and see the world.

So, if this hasn't convinced you to read it, I'd recommend reading the other ladies' posts. For that reason, I am a Richard Armitage fan (Guy if Gisborne anyone? He's clad in leather....that is all) as well as a North and South fan. Hopefully, North and South and I will becomes as good friends as I am with P&P and Jane Eyre. Also, BBC doesn't go wrong in their adaptions!

I hope this has convinced you all to not only check this movie out but the book as well. I'm pretty sure I'll be having more Richard Armitage posts (he's Thorian Okanshield in The Hobbitt!!!) in the future and more about North and South too!

JK Rowling Awesomeness!

Title: The Casual Vacancy
Author: JK Rowling (DUH!)
Release Date: September 27th, 2012
Publisher: Little Brown
When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
Sadly, I'm not that excited after that synopsis but I will be giving it a try. It might just be one of those books that doesn't initially sound too good but it turns out to be a gem! Nonetheless, I am excited for this. JK Rowling is an amazing writer and she's got a great story telling ability!

Review: A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis

Title: A Million Suns 
Series: Across the Universe #2 
Author: Beth Revis 
Release Date: January 10, 2012 
Publisher: Razorbill 
Source: Library
Godspeed was once fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to enact his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that’s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.
Reviews: 
 I absolutely fell in love with Across the Universe, Beth Revis’ debut book and the first book in this trilogy. The characters, the world, the plot and the writing blew me away. I was super excited to read A Million Suns but I wasn’t sure about this one. What if it fell to the second book curse? What if it wasn’t as good as the first one? Well, after devouring this book in a day, I can promise you that A Million Suns was ah-freaking-mazing!

After that ending in ATU, the plot could only get more twisted and destructive but what actually happened surpassed anything I had imagined. The stakes were higher, there’s more mystery, lies, deceit, and anything else you can think of! Any time I thought I knew something about Godspeed or one of the characters, a plot twist would change everything!

Amy really changed in this book and I think her character was written to perfect. In ATU, Amy was very scared and not so independent as she was in this book. I think she grew a lot as she spent more time on Godspeed and got to know how things were run and the mechanics of the world. She was stronger and surer of herself and I was happy that she didn’t let anyone lead her away from her goal. I felt bad for all the things that Elder had to go through. He did come into his own though and that was nice to see. The secondary characters aren’t as prominent but their presence was necessary.

Beth Revis’ writing was as wonderful as ever. She brought in the right information at the right time and gives enough time for it to get in our head. She has a way of writing that really just goes with the feel of the novel and the characters, if that makes any sense what so ever.

Overall, A Million Suns was even better than Across the Universe. Beth Revis brings us skillfully back into the world she created in ATU but was able to change the world so that things didn’t seem repetitive, but rather fresh and new.
Rating:
4/5
Cover Comments: 
GORGEOUS. It fits the book and the characters and I'm SO glad they kept the space theme!

My Previous Reviews: 
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part 1

Directer: Bill Condon
Written by: Melissa Rosenberg
Cast:
Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan
Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen
Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black

The fact that I waited this long to see this movie should tell you something: I wasn't sure of what I was going to get and nor was I in a hurry to watch it. I borrowed the DVD from my friend and watched it today and I have mixed feelings about it. I'm going to take my list review for it:

The Bad: 
 • A lot of the casts acting didn't improve very much. Kristin and Rob were a little better but not by much. This really took away from me enjoying the movie more.
• The Pack talking to themselves as wolves=weird.
• When Bella is about to give birth, you could hear her spine crack and then it got really weird from there.

The Good: 
• Renesme was adorable! Even though her name isn't, they picked the perfect actress for her!
• The imprinting scene actually wasn't all that bad either.
• The honeymoon scenery was gorgeous. I love, love Brazil and would love to visit there some day.
• Seth was a cute character (all his little quips made me smile) and the actor really pulled him off very well!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Review: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel 
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Author: Cassandra Clare 
Release Date: August 31, 2010 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Library
Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Review: 
I really liked Cassandra Clare's debut book, City of Bones and the other two that followed that one. When I heard that she was coming out with another book set in somewhat the same world as City of Bones, I was ecstatic! To make things even better, the book would be set in Victorian Era London! I love all things Victorian and London so Clockwork Angel was high on my list. I am happy to report that Cassandra Clare's newest addition, Clockwork Angel, went far beyond what I had expected from this book! So far, it's my favorite book by her!

The plot was super awesome! From the very beginning, Cassandra Clare brings on the danger, mystery and the hot guys! There is a lot more going on with Tess than meets the eye and Cassandra Clare spreads the plot out so we can find out what is going on with Tessa but what is going on with the rest of the characters. The new antagonist is introduced, along with more fighting and demons, and so much more!

I absolutly loved Tessa! She was strong and independent and well ahead of her time, especially in Victorian London. This set her apart from many of the stereotypes of those times. I couldn't help but compare her to Clary (I know, I know! I couldn't help it, so sue me!) and Tessa just seemed so much strong. PLUS, her reasonably behind fighting isn't for a guy or something, it's for her brother, her family and that just made it all the better. I knew from the very beginning that there would be two guys, both potential interests for Tessa. I also knew that one would be the bad boy type and the other would bet he nicer, calmer, smarter one, and I was write. This took away some of the enjoyment but I liked meeting Will and Jem none the less!

Overall, Clockwork Angel is another excellent piece of work from the amazing Cassandra Clare. Her writing is different in this book so it fits the feel of Victorian Era and that made it more enjoyable! The characters, the plot, and everything else about this book is totally awesome! I recommend that you read this one ASAP, if you haven't already!
Rating:
4/5

Cover Comments: 
I love it! Cassandra Clare gets some of the best covers ever! I love the London landscape behind the guy and the angel that is so bright and pretty! Plus, Will is hot.
Reviews Around Blogosphere: 

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Movie Review: Dolphin Tale

Directer: Charles Martin Smith
Written by: Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi
Cast:
Nathan Gamble as Sawyer Nelson
Winter as herself
Harry Connick Jr. as Dr. Clay Haskett
Ashley Judd as Lorraine Nelson
Morgan Freeman as Dr. Cameron McCarthy

I have this fascination of watching movies that are based on true stories. They give me this hope that good things really do happen and I just love watching movies like that. Dolphin Tale sounded really good when they first showed the trailer and then I learned my friend had visited the actual Winter and that made me even more excited to see the movie.

I'm not sure there is anything for me to say about this movie except for the fact that I really, really loved it. The story was really moving and made you feel really good inside. It have you a look into the relationship people can have with animals and how powerful that is. Winter was an absolutely amazing dolphin (it was actually Winter) and her story was really touching.

The acting, directing, and everything else was done to perfection. While sometimes the movie was slow, it worked well with the movie. It gave time for the plot to develop and for the audience to understand the characters better. There was a lot going on with all of them and it was nice to see their side of the story too.

Overall, everyone should see Dolphin Tale. It really is a movie for the entire family to enjoy and you'll laugh at some scenes while others might make you cry.

Book Haul & Weekly Recap (60)

From the Library:
Clockwork Princes by Cassandra Clare 

For Review:
 
Silence by Michelle Sagara 
Black Dawn by Rachel Cain 
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
**Thanks Netgalley,Penguin, and Harlequin!

Hosted by The Story Siren

WHAT DID YOU GET IN YOUR MAILBOX?

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Old is Gold {3}: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

My attempt to bring attention to all those awesome old books we read a few years ago or maybe as far as elementary school!Sometimes, all we need is a good childhood favorite! Inspired by Tynga's Daring You To Read Feature. This feature focuses ONLY on YA and Middle Grade books. 
How can a fairy's blessing be such a curse?

At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy's gift—the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse—once and for all.
Title: Ella Enchanted 
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Release Date/Publisher: January 1st 1997 by Scholastic Books
Why You Should Read It: This is one of my absolute favorite childhood books EVER!I'm not sure if anyone has not read this boom yet. The movie is nice but it doesn't come anywhere near the awesomeness of this novel. The writing is super rich and beautiful and the world that Gail Carson Levine creates is incredible magical and it might as well be a character itself. Speaking if characters, not only is Ella an amazing, intelligent, and strong willed girl but the other cast of masterful characters makes reading this book even more enjoyable.  
 
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